Neil Fox on film: Dragon Tattoo and Mission Impossible

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

It might seem strange to already have a second film version of this very recent best-selling novel, but then David Fincher isn’t a director averse to the strange.

To a CV that includes Seven, Fight Club, Zodiac, Benjamin Button and The Social Networkwe can now add this pitch-black thriller.

The phenomenally successful book and both the excellent Swedish version and this masterful take concern the story of a disgraced journalist (Daniel Craig) hired to solve the case of a missing woman.

The stinger is that it’s a 40-year-old case and the truth is, shall we say, murky to say the least.

In his quest he is aided by an alienated and abused but brilliant computer hacker (Rooney Mara), fighting her own demons.

The unlikely pair strike a complicated bond and need each other as they start to unravel a mystery that is full of horror and corruption.

Fincher has proved himself the master of big budget unease, but this is twisted even for him and he relentlessly pursues the truth.

So much so that even if you have read the book and seen the Swedish version you still get caught up in the ratcheted tension.

The infamous scenes of torture, rape and rape revenge are harsh and uncomfortable but respectfully rendered and the whole thing is probably the bleakest, most nightmarish big Christmas release on record.

But it’s also an absolute belter of a thriller and within half an hour makes any questions about relevance or whether it was too soon to Americanise the story completely redundant.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

The Cruise is back! Brad ‘The Incredibles’ Bird goes live action! Shot partly in IMAX! What’s not to love?

As a self-confessed fan of Cruise, but not previously enamoured with this franchise, I wanted to love it as Tom needs a hit. Thankfully it doesn’t disappoint. At all.

This is a rollicking and slick telling of an old-fashioned story as Cruise’s IMF team have to go rogue to clear their name after they are framed for bombing the Kremlin.

Cue gadgets, chases, wisecracks, stand-offs and more double-crossing than you can shake a very big stick at.

It’s worth seeing in IMAX, not only for The Dark Knight Rises prologue, but because Bird’s handling of scenes shot in the format is superb.

He has proved himself a more than capable director of humans as well as animated characters and this is easily the best addition to the Impossible saga since the original.